In the 1920s, Le Corbusier wrote a manifesto containing the phrase, “Une maison est une machine-à-habiter (A house is a machine for living)”. It was an ideology that argued houses should be domestic life support systems, providing the essentials and nothing more. You know, shelter from the weather, protection from dingos, a place to store food and a secluded zone for reproduction.
The ideals represented in Le Corbusier’s manifesto never became widely adopted, especially when compared with McDonald’s franchise machine and the 300 billion hamburgers it has served. While Maccas** might not be a complete machine for living, it is a hugely successful machine for delivering calories. That’s all it is – a super-efficient tool for delivering hamburgers to practically anywhere on the planet.
That’s why a McDonald’s reference is always close at hand whenever Tom pays homage to Le Corbusier, like the big ‘M’ sign he put out front his foamcore Villa Savoye.
I think a lot about McDonald’s and machines for living when I’m on Dad duties. Meals to prepare, children to be washed and laundry to fold. All these chores are different assembly lines that get combined into the process – the essential domestic workflow required for my family’s survival. In a lot of ways, I imagine our machine for living more as a factory than a house. But I guess that was inevitable when you put a software engineer on the domestic front-line.
** Spot the Australian: Macca’s is slang for McDonald’s.
Photo: Tom Sachs
Originally written for the Sachsian Syndicate.
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